US urges withdrawal of foreign forces in Tigray, north of Ethiopia

The conflict in Ethiopia has led to thousands of deaths and warnings of a famine [AFP Photo]

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed about the implementation of the ceasefire deal between government troops and Tigray forces in the north.

“[The] Ethiopian Prime Minister and I discussed the urgent need to implement the cessation of hostilities agreement and to secure lasting peace in northern Ethiopia,” Mr. Blinken said in a tweet.

In a readout of his phone call to the Ethiopian leader, Mr. Blinken stressed the need to immediately implement the deal “including withdrawal of all foreign forces and concurrent disarmament of the Tigrayan forces”.

Mr. Abiy has already reiterated his government's commitment to the peace deal.

The secretary of state said the US was committed to supporting the African Union-led process including its monitoring and verification mechanism of the peace agreement

Mr. Blinken recognized ongoing efforts by the Ethiopian government "to work towards unhindered humanitarian assistance and restoration of basic services" in Tigray and neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions.

Amhara and Afar regional forces, as well as Eritrean troops, have been fighting alongside the federal forces at war against the Tigrayan fighters.

On 2 November Ethiopia's government and Tigrayan fighters agreed, in a surprise move, to halt their two-year conflict.

The conflict has led to thousands of deaths and warnings of famine.

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